Stay Home. Stay Safe and DIY Tie-Dye

I was starting to feel more like the Trunchbull than Miss Honey after last week here at Freedom Elementary, so I was looking for something fun I could do with my three girls. The DIY tie-dye gods must’ve sensed my desperation because as I was randomly scrolling Instagram, my friend Abby popped up on my stories. She showed an absolutely darling DIY tie-dye project she did on a sweatshirt and pants set. I messaged her right away and she sent over step-by-step instructions and some pictures. Thank you my lovely friend for sharing it–we had so much fun.

Tie-dye is everywhere. I mean, other than the Rona, it’s pretty much slapped and plastered on everything you see while surfing the net—tie-dye towels, tie-dye shirts, sweatshirts, sweatpants, handbags, pillows, furniture, cats, houses–you name it. I’ve shopped around for some items for myself and my girls because tie-dye is fun and it’s nostalgic for me as a child of the 90’s. The prices? Not so nostalgic or fun. The other day I found $40 Tie-dye sweatshirts that I wanted to grab for my girls but I couldn’t justify the price. 

Abby’s project was the perfect fit. Most importantly, it was fun. It was also simple, affordable and a quarantine time memory they will no doubtedly remember doing with their mama. I definitely recommend this if you have children, whether boys or girls, this is a great project for creative little hands. If you don’t have kids, this would be a great gift for a niece, nephew or friend’s child. Also, don’t forget to include yourselves in this. Those loungewear sets you’re seeing everywhere are running for about $50-$75 and selling out so fast you can’t catch them even if you don’t mind the cost.

I hope you give this a whirl and end up enjoying it as much as we did. Be sure to share your thoughts and finished projects in the comments.

DIY Tie-Dye Project

You will need: clothing you want to tie-dye, bleach, empty bottle(s), rubber bands and sunshine. That’s it. Total time start to finish (including washing the clothing) was around two hours.

Step 1. Snag whatever it is you want to tie-dye. You may already have some solid sweatshirts or sweatpants or t-shirts in your closet that you don’t mind using. If not, this sweatshirt and jogger set was what I used for Tia and Hadley. It’s unisex and comes in multiple color options. I used this set for Carolyn and have already purchased another because it’s so darn cute. Here are lots of fun colored t-shirts that will work great for your kids. This is a great sweatshirt option for yourself and below is the finished product using that particular option. My friend Kristin did this one–isn’t it awesome?

Step 2. Give the clothes a good rinse. Get them nice and wet and then wring them out so they are still quite damp but not a dripping mess. Lay them flat on the floor. 

Step 3. Pick a random place on your clothing item and start twirling the fabric with your finger. You can start at the knee of the pants or the bum or the foot hole. On the sweatshirt or t-shirt, try the chest area and then the sleeves and wherever else. You don’t want to be perfectly perfect on this—type-A’s this will be your most challenging step. It’s ok. I got through it and so will you. Keep twirling sections until you get the whole garment all together in a circular shape. If you are doing this with your kids they can absolutely do this step. My seven and eight-year-old needed a quick tutorial and they were good to go solo.

Step 4. Rubber band the twirled garments. Think of it as if you were creating pie pieces. Have one rubber band going length, one going width, one going diagonal, etc.. I used about four rubber bands per piece of clothing.

Step 5. Make your bleach mixture. I used an empty water bottle. Since we were doing three sets of clothing I did three water bottles so the girls could each do their own. Mix equal parts bleach with water. For our water bottles, I filled about 1/4 of the bottle with bleach and 1/4 of it water. That was plenty for each of us. If you want the look to be more bleached out and white, use more bleach than water. I like a more subtle tie-dye, so I was happy with the equal parts combination. 

Step 6. Go somewhere that you can get bleach on the ground. Outside is likely best. Start pouring your bleach mixture into random “pieces” of your pie. You can go every other or swirl it around a bit. Again, you can’t really screw it up. This is what makes it unique. Once you do your first side, be sure to flip it over and do the other side. My kids loved this step and it makes it uniquely their own project—trust me, they are beyond proud of their artwork. 

Step 7. Leave clothing in the sun for 30-40 minutes. Again, if you want a more bleached look, leave it out longer.

Step 8. Bring in the clothing, take off the rubber bands and run everything through a normal wash cycle and dry them. Don’t be alarmed if at first it doesn’t look like it worked—it did. After it dries you will see the fantastic results.

Step 9. Rock your new customized piece of clothing. Be careful, this is addicting. You’ll be tie-dying your bedsheets, towels and rugs before you know it. 

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